A new law in Mississippi banning plant-based food providers from labeling their products with meat-related terms like “veggie burger” or “vegan hotdog” has sparked a legal battle.
What We Know:
- Plant-based food provider, Upton’s Naturals Co., and the Plant Based Foods Association are suing over the new law in Mississippi.
- Supporters of the law claim it is an attempt to mitigate consumer confusion. The bill states “any food product containing cell-cultured animal tissue or plant-based or insect-based food shall not be labeled meat or as a meat product.”
- The food providers argue there is nothing confusing about the products because they are clearly labeled vegan. They also claim there has been no evidence of confusion amongst customers.
- Vegan products do not contain meat or any animal byproducts. The providers argue that any meat-related term is not intended to be taken literally. Terms like “hotdog” and “burger” are used as a point of reference.
- Jessica Almy, a lawyer representing the providers, told Vox, “there’s considerable evidence that the motivation for this law is protecting cattle farmers from competition.” Almy also claims the law may violate the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
- The suit challenges the constitutionality of the law and questions its purpose as federal regulations that prevent customer deception already exist.
A judge will decide the fate of products like “meatless meatballs” in Mississippi.